Too crafty

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by treann, Sep 8, 2007.

  1. treann

    treann Rookie

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    Sep 8, 2007

    Each year we have people come in and give us a "rating" on pretty much everything in our room and on our teaching. Last year I was told that I had too many "crafty" art choices and not enough free art choices. (we were making fish bowls which I had traced for the children to cut out, and then I had die-cut fish for them to put in the bowls...I also had art materials for them to decorate their bowls with)
    I very much agree with this, but I am having a hard time coming up with exciting and fun open-ended art choices. I mean I can just lay paper and scissors and markers out and let them be creative, but sometimes I want something more to go with my theme. This coming week we will be talking about My family and Me. Are there any ideas out there for some creative and not so structured art? Thanks!
     
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  3. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Sep 8, 2007

    Maybe after a story you can have blank paper dolls and construction paper. Then give them materials for them to draw what they want (activities, clothes, eyes, hair etc) without as much direction. Would this work? I don't have that problem. In 1st it is supposed to be more modeled and directed.
     
  4. Butterfly4

    Butterfly4 Comrade

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    Sep 8, 2007

    I just finished the "my family" unit. For one project I cut up lots of different colors of construction paper into a variety of sizes of squares, rectangles and triangles. I put them all in the center of a table and gave each child a long piece of construction paper (18"x12" I believe). I told them to make a house then draw their family in it.

    Some childrent chose the larger square (9x9) and a large triangle to make a simple house. Some children chose lots of the medium and small shapes to make more like a big castle looking house.

    I also had scissors out for them to use if they wanted to make their own shape. I had a couple children take the long skinny rectangles and cut them up into small rectangles to use as trim to decorate their house.

    This was a good creative project where they could do as little or as much as they wanted.
     
  5. monica

    monica Comrade

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    Sep 8, 2007

    I'm trying to seriously limit my crafts this year. I have a definition in my head that crafts are things that I expect to look somewhat similar to my finished example or idea. I give out certain supplies and some directions. Art is where my art center is. It has paper, glue bottles, glue sticks, stencils, markers, crayons, color pencils, stickers, left over scrapbook scraps, wiggle eyes, popsicle sticks, pom pom balls, sequins, hole punches and whatever else I find. There is no instruction and I don't interfere at all or give any suggestions as to what goes on there. (other than safety instructions)

    I try to stick to just one, two at the most, craft per week with our theme or letter. Otherwise I try to keep my small groups involved in games, manipulatives, writing activities, pre reading & pre math activities, etc...

    :2cents:
     
  6. treann

    treann Rookie

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    Sep 8, 2007

    Thanks for your ideas! I don't really have room to put all the materials for an actual art center so I typically have an art table where I can put some of those materials out daily. Once a week I think I will do a craft type thing and then just put materials out other days and maybe guide children to be creative in making certain things pertaining to our theme. I don't know how well this will work...but it's worth a try I guess! Question though is how do you limit things? Last year if I would put out google eyes some children would use like 20+ on one project! It's fine because they are being creative, but we don't have a lot of money to spend on replacing these things weekly!
     
  7. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Sep 8, 2007

    Think about getting posters or computer print outs of famous art that shows a very specific art element very well. For example Monet for water colors of outdoor scenes, discuss it and have the students respond to it (like/dislike, reminds me of, makes me feel, etc) then let them explore with water colors to make something that makes them feel the same way (stress that they should not all be painting water lilies). Sometimes tell them that they are free to make things look however they want to and other times you are expecting them to look like they do in real life. Art museum web sites are great resources for lessons, ideas, and printouts to use in class.

    For the my family and me idea - talk about the things they like to do with their family and have them make a collage that represents it (rather than drawing a picture of what they do) a blue pice of fabric might represent the ocean, a pice of foil might be the slide at the park.
     
  8. monica

    monica Comrade

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    Sep 8, 2007

    Not alot of room: I have my "art center" in a rolling cart. It's 3 plastic drawers on wheels, got it at Walmart. The paper lays on top, first drawer is things to color/draw with, second drawer is scissors/glue/, third drawer is all the extras. I have the drawers labeled with pictures and words, so are the containers that hold the items. I cut the pics out of old school supply catalogs. I use to have a tiny room and could roll it where I needed it by a table & then even out in the hall when not in use. Luckily I have a bigger room now and it stays put, but the drawers worked well so I kept it like that.

    Limit Supplies: You can always set up a limit on things like wiggles eyes, pom poms, sequins and so on. Tell them 4 per person (or whatever you need) You may have to have a small group with that to show them and remind them, but they should catch on pretty quick. We have an entire lesson on snapping lids on markers, using scissors the right way, one drop of glue from bottles, roll up and down glue sticks. Once you introduce & practice though, it works out pretty well.

    You're going to have someone open the glue bottle and pour the whole thing out at some point, you're going to have someone want all of the wiggle eyes one day... It happens.

    My assistant or I spend time in the art center during the first week making our own project. Just sitting and talking to the kids, but making our own picture. Showing them ideas of what they could actually make, without TELLING them. They just see that you can make a picture as well as a collage. Some get it, some don't. It's all ok.

    Oh.. and I also have a big plastic folder full of die cuts of all kinds. They LOVE using those. This week we had tons of girls who glued them to paper, that's all they did all week. They were proud though, so such is life. I think I will take the die cuts out on Monday though and add something different. We'll see what they do with it. I'll add die cuts again the following week.
     
  9. CraftyTeacher

    CraftyTeacher Rookie

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    Sep 8, 2007

    I don't think there's a definitive line between "art" and "craft;" it's more like a spectrum. IMHO the deciding factor is how much work the teacher does and how much work the child does. If the teacher does a lot of the work, it's more crafty. If the kid does most if it, it's more arty.

    One of the ways you can mix things up is to have the kids use the same medium in different ways. Take painting, for example. Of course they can just paint on plain paper. But you can also:

    • Cut out specific shapes for them to paint on, such as geometric shapes, people, etc. Great way to have an art project match a theme.
    • Mix different things into the paint, like glitter or sand
    • Paint on natural or "junk" objects and then stamp them onto paper
    • Paint with tools other than brushes, like combs, eye droppers, or turkey basters
    • Paint on something other than paper: try fabric, styrofoam, or leaves
    • Paint with non-paint liquids, like liquid soap, pudding, colored glue...

    For example, we had an "All About Me" theme this week. I used a big stencil to draw boy and girl shapes. The kids colored the shapes with markers. Later, I cut them out and added google eyes. (We just didn't have time for the kids to do that part themselves, although that was my original intention.) I consider this more art than craft because the only teacher-defined limitation was the shape of the paper; the majority of it was done by the kids. If I'd cut out various body parts and then had them glue them onto paper, that would be more of a craft.

    You can be "crafty" and "arty" at the same time. You can have something be open-ended but also go in a particular direction.

    Also, have you considered doing it both ways? In my classroom we have an art center that's open every day, and a teacher-initiated project each day too. Once they're trained to use the art center without needing a teacher sitting right there, it really works well.

    Anyway, I agree that all kids need those open-ended projects, but they need teacher-directed projects too. The ability to follow directions is just as important as the ability to be creative.

    Chris
    http://craftyteacher.blogspot.com
     
  10. Mommy2KRJ

    Mommy2KRJ New Member

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    Sep 11, 2007

    Hi! I have a whole box full of ideas! One of my favorites- that goes well with a transportation theme or anytime really- is to paint using little die cast cars. You can get them super cheap but try to get some with different wheels- like monster trucks or tractors. Its a ton of fun! Collages are always good too and you can provide materials that relate to what you are doing. I could keep going for days! Really the key is the saying from school- it should be the process not the product. You don't want 15 identical projects on the wall - the kids haven't learned anything from that. They may come away with something and sometimes you have to do it that way but ideally they should be involving as many senses as they can. Making a mess, feeling the medium, mixing colors. Have fun!
     
  11. Myname

    Myname Comrade

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    Sep 11, 2007

    I would trace their body on big sheets of paper and have them color on the close and make their face etc. Now that is not too crafty but pretty open ended.

    I feel at times we too do too much of the crafty stuff not enough open ended. I love to see what kids creat but my class can do this during free play and often do. they cut, they glue, and fold it up and put it in their back packs, lol. You know how they like to fold, lol.
     
  12. ABall

    ABall Fanatic

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    Sep 11, 2007

    bookmarkers are easy and fun, leave some art supplies, the yarn and the bookmark shapes with the holes punched out.

    They can use their favorite color felt or foil or construction paper to make them and put yarn or ribbon in their other favorite color.
     
  13. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    Sep 11, 2007

    Give them pressed leaves and flowers, etc and let them glue them between 2 sheets of waxed paper. DRy well and hang them from the ceiling with raffia.
    Put paint on a paper plate and give a piece of yarn to make string paintings with.

    Squirt some paint, glue and shaving cream onto a paper plate and let them mix it and paint the plate.

    Put some pretty buttons on a plate and let them glue them to a small board or piece of brown paper bag.

    Cut various colors of const. paper in petal shapes and suggest they make flowers. Let them draw stems in green.

    Use your imagination.
     
  14. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Sep 12, 2007

    I personally don't believe my son's Pre-k class is crafty enough. I have yet, in 3 months, come home with anything he has made that wasn't a plain sheet of white paper with scribbles or a few letters on it. I like that he gets to do that, but I want something crafty sometimes too.
     
  15. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Sep 12, 2007

    There can be a balance! At my centre, we plan one "craft" a day - it is optional, the children do not have to participate. The craft is usually process oriented, with a product in mind if that makes sense. For example, when we did a pets unit, I cut out the shape of a dog and then provided Q-tips and black paint for the children to make spots for a dalmation dog. The Art centre is always open with more open-ended supplies that the children can access at anytime to make whatever they would like.

    When I worked with the 2s, we rarely did any sort of craft - it was always up to the child how they used the supplies. Once though, I gave them a square of mac-tac and tissue paper cut up into squares. They stuck the tisse paper to the mac-tac and then I put another piece of mac-tac on top to seal all the paper in. They were beautiful sun catchers! The children were quite excited about their "product" - but each one was different!

    Sorry this turned out to be so long! Bottom line? There can be a balance, and a place for both in a classroom!
     
  16. tchecse

    tchecse Companion

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    Sep 12, 2007

    give the kids ink pads or paint and have them use their handprints and finger prints to make pictures/experiment.

    Give the kids a house shaped piece of paper and have them draw their family.

    Have the kids draw a picture of what they like to do with their family. Then have the kids tell you what the picture is about. Write their exact words and post them as captions. This is a great way for parents to see what their kids are thinking

    Painting with body parts...feet, hands, elbows, noses.

    Write the kids' names in bubble letters and let them color/decorate them however they want. This will be a great thing to remind them what their name looks like.
     
  17. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Sep 12, 2007

    Something we're doing next week for transportation is we're giving the kids shapes to make a truck and letting them put it together the way they think it should go. I'm not planning to give them a model to go off of, although we'll talk about what trucks look like and read a book with a tuck in it beforehand, but it's THEIR truck to make as they want. They get to pick the color of the body and put it together how they want.

    I'll do the same thing with scarecrows in the fall, snowmen in the winter, and flowers in the spring. I've gotten a lot of compliments on how process-based the project is.

    We did a week of "little picassos" during summer camp, and my co-teacher talked about different kinds of lines we can draw... straight, curvy, wavy, diagonal, zigzag, etc. They practiced each of those kinds of lines, then got to choose 6 lines to paint in black on a piece of white paper. After they dried, they got to paint between the lines with different colors. They turned out AWESOME.
     
  18. treann

    treann Rookie

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    Sep 12, 2007

    Thanks for all your ideas! My week will be over tomorrow, and it went really well. I guess I do a lot of the things mentioned, but I think what I was trying to sort out mostly was that I really only have one area in the room for any type of art. I have an art table. I don't have room to keep all the fun artsy things out for them to be creative with everyday. So I guess I just need to pick and chose and relate it to my theme somewhat. And I will maybe do a "crafty" craft once every week or two. This week I did put out shapes for them to make houses, I sent home "homework" with border and paper for them to make a family picture frame, the children made a friendship quilt (each designing a square of it), and they water-color painted their "magic" names (white crayon on white paper). I think the art choices I had were fairly open-ended...I think I just needed to have my feelings about it seconded (is that a word???!!! )...so thanks! I feel better and now I can look back at this thread and feel I am doing things alright! Plus get more great ideas!
     
  19. scarlet_begonia

    scarlet_begonia Comrade

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    Sep 15, 2007

    Often, my class does have free art time, but sometimes I'll have them start (or finish) with one little thing to make it........cuter. I'll give them fall paint colors, then I'll add a frame to it where the cutout in the center is a leaf shape. For your fishbowls, I would still give them a bowl but let them blow bubbles on it, or dip their fingers in paint to make fish. I taught the kids how to make tree trunks (draw 2 straight lines) and let them add what they wanted to make a tree. It's still their own project, not totally cookie-cutter, but the little bit of structure to the project helps kids plan what they want to do.
     
  20. kindteach

    kindteach Rookie

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    Sep 15, 2007

    If you school wants more process, not craft art, then painting and stamping are an easy ways to do it. I teach Kindergarten, but here are some of the process things we do:

    Fall: paint with leaves, gather leaves and make a leaf collage
    Birds: paint with feathers
    Dental Health: paint with a toothbrush, fingerpaint with colored toothpaste
    Fire Safety: "flame" collages with yellow, red, and orange tissue paper squares
    Winter: glue cotton balls on paper snow storms or in groups for snowflakes
    Circus: put some paint at the bottom of a Pringles can, roll paper up and put it in, and then put in unpopped popcorn. Put the lid on and shake.
    Farm: Use corn on the cob as a paint roller
    Anytime: colored tape pictures

    That's all I can think of right now. Hope it helps!
     

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